As January’s featured emerging artist at the Detroit Artist Market (DAM), Mexican-American artist Roberto Patiño Jr. humbly describes himself as a self-taught with 11 years of experience.
He currently has 10 original works now on display, at the DAM, and Patiño has already sold over half of his collection. Born and raised in Detroit, Patiño talks about how the city, and especially his aunt Claudia continue to inspire him on his creative journey.
Patiño recently met artist and curator Jeff Cancelosi through a mutual friend and local artist, Connery McDowell. Cancelosi was impressed with Patiño’s work and asked him to be a part of DAM. This connection also led to him giving an artist talk at the Artist Reception at Henry Ford Cancer Pavilion on Saturday for the Concerning Landscape exhibition.
“I did graffiti back in the day, but I wasn’t good at it. She [Aunt Claudia] told me, ‘Don’t paint the walls, but here paint these canvas and do it at home.’ My aunt saw right away I was interested in art but wanted to keep me away from trouble,” Patiño says. He describes his aunt Claudia as the keeper of culture in his family, with interests in music, art, and food. He shares that he relates to his aunt in an artistic sense by going against the grain and not conforming to traditional artistic norms.
Patiño says his artwork deals with “Conflict and honesty, with an ego unchecked, taking a closely guided tour through balancing the constant running mind.” He describes, “Wild colors and ideas come with soothing, playful reminders and that, as intense as life can be, there is always something to enjoy.”
When asked who his favorite artist is today, he mentioned a close friend of 10 years. “My favorite artist is Nick Pizaña, also co-owner/curator at KO Studio Gallery located in Hamtramck. Also, one of my favorites is Julianna Sanromán Rojas, a student attending the College for Creative Studies. She helps a lot of the people in the community. I would like to also do this and be involved with helping out the students that are devoted to their artistic journey.”
Patiño expresses what it means to be an emerging artist in a city made up predominantly of people of color. He mentions it makes him emotional when he thinks about how the art community has become a support pillar that holds him up. He has come to meet like-minded artists who have helped to refine his ideas.
“It’s been a lot of fun, with Detroit being a Black and Brown city, it’s been great to create in this space. I work with Black artists, and I also love connecting with up-and-coming Latino artists from all over. Some of whom are friends of mine.”
Excited about what’s next for him, Patiño is looking forward to creating an art festival with current artist partner Gwendolyn Redwick. “An artist showcase featuring about 20 artists possibly to take place at the Detroit Repertory Theatre either later this year or as soon as early next year,” Patiño says. He will continue to display his work in the coming months wherever he can in local shows and across the Metro Detroit area.
Patiño’s work is currently for sale and on display from now until February 18, 2023, at the Detroit Artists Market located at 4719 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201.
Amber Ogden is a freelance writer, born and raised Detroit native with published work in publications such as Forbes, The Independent, and Rachel Ray Every Day. When she is not writing you can find her at the DIA or any local bookstore.